Coconut oil has been gaining ground over the years for the numerous benefits that it has to the body. Its uses range from actual consumption to being part of holistic topical and hair beauty solutions. Owing to this, it has become a staple in many households across the globe.
But how do you store coconut oil?
There are different approaches to storing coconut oil based on your intentions: if you want to keep it liquid, you must make sure that you store it at temperatures above 24 degrees Celsius (75F). If you want to keep your coconut oil solid state, you must keep it at lower temperatures. It is safe to eat and lasts just as much no matter what its state is.
Many coconut oil users swear that it takes forever to spoil and is always good – but is it? We need to know some proper storage techniques for coconut oil so that you can get the most of its benefits. Let’s tackle the most asked questions about storing coconut oil.
How Long Does Virgin Coconut Oil Last?
Virgin coconut oil comes after careful processing of fresh coconut pulp. The notable thing is that the oil is not exposed to heat at all and is made by cold compression and micro-expelling.
This results in coconut oil that has lower moisture content. It has a shelf life of up 2 years and can last up to 5 years if properly stored. If your virgin coconut oil is processed through fermentation, it has a considerably shorter shelf life.
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What Container is Best for Storing Coconut Oil?
There is always a danger of chemical leaching if you choose the wrong container for your VCO. It is best to store them in glass or BPA-free containers preferable with air-tight lids.
Storing them in smaller containers is optimum so that if you need to liquefy some with heat, you won’t spoil a larger batch.
If you are storing coconut oil for a longer time, choose transparent containers. Transparent doesn’t mean just clear containers. You can opt for colored bottles to block light exposure.
Some choose to store them in opaque containers if they have trouble finding a dark place to store coconut oil but this is not highly recommended for longer storage since it will make checking for bottom mold difficult.
That way you can check the bottom parts for mold growth which makes it dangerous for consumption.
Should We Keep Refrigerate Coconut Oil?
Yes, you can – but you don’t have to.
Coconut oil is very stable at room temperature and can stay on your shelf or pantry for up to two years.
Just make sure it stays away from high-heat prone areas like the proximity of your stove or oven. Stay clear of open shelving that gets sunlight. Exposure to heat causes faster rancidity of the product.
If you are unsure, you can keep coconut oil in the fridge just for it to be exposed to a stable temperature. If you are keeping a stock of coconut oil for the long term, you can even freeze it.
How to Keep Coconut Oil Liquid?
Coconut oil remains in its solid-state for up to 74 °F. Higher than that it starts to liquefy. Its melting point is 75 °F (24 °C).
Depending on the weather in your area, you can simply make it sit in a stably warm area of your kitchen or pantry to keep it liquid.
If you live in colder climates or when the weather changes to the chillier seasons, you can expect it to harden from jelly consistency to harder.
If you happen to be stuck with coconut oil that is hard to scoop out because it becomes too hard, just pop it in a vessel with warmer water but not boiling! Remember, coconut oil can be sensitive to rapid heat.
This is why it’s recommended to try and heat up just the amount you plan to use, and not the entire batch – especially if we’re talking about larger quantities.
How Do We Solidify Liquid Coconut Oil for Baking?
If your recipe needs a firmer butter-like texture for baking, pop your coconut oil container in the refrigerator so it can solidify before you use it.
Plan in advance, as solidifying coconut oil will have take at least one hour in the fridge (depending on the quantity you plan to use).
Knowing Your Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is an oil extracted from the white pulp of mature coconuts. The variety of processing methods result in different types of coconut oils.
Another thing that affects the type of coconut oil made is whether the raw material used for processing is dried coconut pulp, also known as copra, or freshly-scraped ones. Two types of coconut oil are touted to be best for health and beauty.
Virgin or Extra Virgin – lower smoke-point coconut oil that is best to use for baking or stir-fries and sautés. This type is not advisable for high heat cooking such as deep-frying. This type has a bolder and creamier coconut flavor.
Refined – this is a higher smoke point coconut oil that is quite bland and with a remarkable absence of the coconut-y smell. This is the result of the heating and filtration of the oil after being pressed to eliminate odors. This is often used when the coconut flavor isn’t desired.
Tips for Coconut Oil Use
Since coconut oil has so many uses, we can get confused about many dos and don’ts. Ideally, to having longer-lasting coconut oil is to store your food/cooking coconut oil apart from your beauty coconut oil.
However, should you find this difficult, here are some tips when using coconut oil in your home.
- Let refrigerated coconut oil sit on your kitchen counter at room temperature to soften before using. This makes it easier to scoop out.
- Always use clean utensils when scooping out coconut oil. Any crumbs and bits of other food items may cause contamination and your entire container will mold and spoil.
- Label your coconut oil with dates so you have an idea how long it has been with you.
- Buy reasonable batches of coconut oil since, like all things, they deteriorate slightly over time.
- Always check coconut oil before using it to avoid using a spoiled product. Check for signs of mold or strong rancid smells. Don’t forget to check the side and bottom of your container since mold on coconut oil doesn’t just grow from the top.
- A sign of rancidity is when your coconut oil has turned yellowish and chunky. At this point, it’d be best to discard it. This is usually caused by heat and light exposure.
- For coconut oil that you use for your skin and hair, avoid storing it in your bathroom since hot showers fluctuate the temperature frequently and will cause it to spoil faster. A dresser or nightstand is better where it can be kept out of excessive heat or cold and frequent temperature changes.
- Avoid using tall bottles with narrow necks to store coconut oil because it will be a struggle to get it out if it hardens.
- Avoid introducing moisture to your coconut oil container. Always close the lid tight after getting what you need. Use dry utensils and make sure your hands are dry when you scoop them out.
Coconut oil is one amazing product. Its numerous uses and health benefit can truly be optimized with proper storage and handling. If we follow the simple care steps, we can be sure to reap the advantages of this great product.